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I used nmap for network security testing. It found that SMTP server was in open relay. Here is the output:

nmap --script smtp-open-relay testwww.confidesk.com
PORT     STATE  SERVICE
25/tcp   open   smtp
|_smtp-open-relay: Server is an open relay (16/16 tests)

I'm unable to reproduce this problem. How do I reproduce it myself without scanner?

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5 Answers 5

As juwi has in his answer, just make a network connection to tcp/25 of the server in question. You can use telnet for that, or netcat.

Here's an example of an SMTP transaction:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Mail_Transfer_Protocol#SMTP_transport_example

A relay is closed if it fails after you try to submit a RCPT that the server is not configured to accept. A relay is open if it accepts whatever domain you specify in an RCPT line.

I don't know what the nmap scan is doing to determine whether you have an open relay. One thing to keep in mind is that your SMTP server may be configured to accept all traffic from the IP you're testing from, so, yes, it's open, but not to the rest of the world, so that may be OK. You should run the test from a remote box to be sure.

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This answer isn't technically correct. An open relay is an email server that allows ANY user , server, etc. to relay through it. An email server that allows authenticated relaying (for example) is not an open relay. –  joeqwerty Feb 10 '12 at 11:51
    
Right: that's why I have a caveat at the end about testing the functionality remotely. We are also not AUTHing in the given example. It's additionally not clear what the nmap test is doing, and where the user is running it from; from all we can tell, it's from a privileged network, which is why it's returning a positive result –  cjc Feb 10 '12 at 11:59
    
Even with your caveat, an email server that allows authenticated relaying still isn't an open relay. It's a server that allows authenticated relaying. It's not open in any sense. –  joeqwerty Feb 10 '12 at 12:43
    
And where's the AUTH in the example I'm pointing to? Looking at the nmap script used to test for open relays, there's no AUTH there either. So, given the caveat about privileged networks and the suggestion to test remotely, how is the test in relation to the OP's problem invalid? –  cjc Feb 10 '12 at 13:07
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Microsoft procedure for detecting open relays - manual telnet commands, too much to post up here. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/324958

Automated test http://www.mailradar.com/openrelay/ However when I've used this with Microsoft IIS6, the tests with the email address surrounded with speechmarks (e.g. method 7 RCPT TO: <"relaytest@mailradar.com">) appear to fail but don't actually get sent out. If you find yourself in this situation you may wish to do further investigating of settings and actually verifying these aren't ending up somewhere you don't want them to. 178.209.36.55 however sails through all these tests.

Once you are happy you are not running an open relay, the next step is to ensure you aren't backscattering. Backscatter is when a third party sends an email to an undeliverable address with a forged sender header so a NDR is sent to the apparent sender (forged).

This often comes about as a result of a server configured to relay mail for a whole domain without a list of valid users so it will accept the email initially, then will not be able to relay it to a server with a list of valid users.

Simple test - I'm going to call your external personal email address me@hotmail.com and your domain is domain.com

ehlo hotmail.com
mail from me@hotmail.com
rcpt to:invaliduser@domain.com
data
subject:subject
text
.

Then check the me@hotmail.com account (probably in the junk folder) for a NDR from something like postmaster@domain.com.

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This is code I had in my script-folder. Can't remember where I got it. Credits to original author:

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
#Script to check for Open Relay EMAIL Servers on port 25
#Author: Felipe Ferreira  fel.h2o(at)gmail Date: 18/02/2009
#ref. http://www.perlmonks.org/index.pl?node_id=718552
#TODO: 
#1. Should get from a list of IPs, should report any Open servers to a .txt file
#smtp->code() and message() are the responses of the server!

use Net::SMTP;
my $host;
my $filename = "servers.txt";

#open .txt file with all servers names or IPs
#open($filehandle, "<" . $filename);
open FILE, "<servers.txt" or die $!;
while (my $host = <FILE>) {
    print "Testing: $host";
    my $smtp = Net::SMTP->new($host, 
        Hello => "admin", 
        Timeout => 3,
        Debug => 0);
    if (!$smtp) {       print STDOUT "No connection to $host \n";

    }
    else {
    $smtp->mail('relayfromtest@testing.com');
    $smtp->to('relaytotest@local.com')
       or 
       print "SERVIDOR OK: $host RCPT TO: ", $smtp->code(), " ", $smtp->message();
    if ($smtp->code() eq "250" ) {
       print "SERVIDOR CRITICAL: $host Tiene problema de OPEN RELAY!!!";
    }
#   $smtp->quit;    
    }
} #Next host
close FILE;
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You can just log on manually using telnet on Port 25.

Then you say HELO and try MAIL FROM: <mailadress> next up RCPT TO: <mailaddress> At that point it should tell you that it rejected the address because it denied access if it is not an open relay. If it is open it will do what you just told it - send out an email.

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This answer isn't technically correct. An open relay is an email server that allows ANY user , server, etc. to relay through it. An email server that allows authenticated relaying (for example) is not an open relay. –  joeqwerty Feb 10 '12 at 11:51
    
Which basically is what I'm saying here, I just didn't specifically point that out. YOu could've just edited that in if you feel that this information is a necessary addition. –  juwi Feb 10 '12 at 12:06
    
No offense juwi, but if you didn't specifically point it out then you didn't point it out. We can't assume that we know what you mean or what you intend, we can only read what you actually write in your answer. –  joeqwerty Feb 10 '12 at 12:41
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While the answers here point in the right direction I'd like to add a disclaimer:

An email server that will relay is not neccessarily an open relay. If I have an application running on a server that needs to send email and I configure my email server to allow that application server to relay through it by putting the ip address of the server in an "allowed to relay" list on my email server, or if I configure my application to authenticate to my email server and I configure my email server to allow authenticated relaying, that is not an open relay. It's simply a relay (authenticated, or allowed based on ip address,etc.).

An open relay is an email server that allows any user, system, etc. to relay through it.

So simply making a telnet connection to port 25 of your email server and sending email to a domain that the server is not authoritative for is not an iron-clad indication of whether or not the email server is an open relay, without knowing more about how the server is configured.

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